What? What?

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

It's funny how—no matter what else is going on in your life—when you have something physically wrong, everything else is secondary.

One of your best friends could be dying of cancer. Your ancient dog could be checking out, too. Your family member could be moving across the country. Your entire life could be turning topsy-turvy, and that health issue is the thing that's going to occupy your mind. Everything else is, by comparison, something to be dealt with.

I'm losing my hearing at an alarming rate. It's hard to say what the rate is, because my audiologist hasn't received the results of the last time it was checked by a different doctor earlier this year, but to me it seems fast. They don't measure hearing loss by decibels, as I understand it, but by some algorithm that includes the amount of human speech a person can hear. My left ear is at 53 percent; my right is at 73.

So, why would I waste a couple hundred precious words on a health problem? Like everything I write about that is superficially personal, I think it speaks toward universal truths. I've written about the health-care and insurance industries in this column. Did you know that insurance doesn't typically cover the cost of hearing aids, but there is no other treatment for deafness caused by nerve damage? My insurance doesn't cover them.

I'm looking at $2,500 to $3,000 worth of hearing aids for each ear. From a job standpoint, a lot rides on me correctly understanding what people tell me, especially when they're discussing someone else's reputation.

But isn't this an economic-divide issue? People who have to pick between food and hearing a song the way it was intended to be heard aren't going to spend the money. I wonder how many automobile accidents are caused by people not being able to hear what's going on around them.

What if my hearing continues to deteriorate? My girlfriend notices I listen to the radio loudly. If it's loud noises that caused it, and it causes people to listen to progressively louder noises, doesn't it seem logical that insurance would work for prevention? Go Team America!